Wednesday, August 17, 2011
With the NFL lockout lasting most of the off season college football seemed to be somewhat thrust into the spotlight. In turn die hard as well as casual football fans turned to the obvious second choice, that being amateur athletes. The ironic thing is that this summer, college football has been littered with headlines of players getting paid as though they were professional athletes. From unkown scandals at Miami to improper benefits at Ohio State the framework of the college game is coming to a real head way that must be addressed.
What has troubled me the most about the way violations had improprieties have been dealt with is the fact that so often the punishments do not penalize the true violators. In the case of Ohio State, Jim Tressel was aware multiple violations involving his starting quarterback, running back, and wide receiver (among others) yet the entire program was sanctioned. The main violators seem to have been Coach Tressel and Terrelle Pryor, and they are both no longer with the program. Tressel was still paid his entire salary for the year and Terrelle Pryor will possibly be allowed to enter the NFL supplement draft and earn an NFL salary. So in the end Ohio State's future players and future recruits are the ones being penalized.
The same outcome will probably come following the University of Miami investigation. It is alleged that upwards of 70 players received benefits from a booster by the name of Nevin Shapiro over an eight year period. The players range from current NFL stars to current Miami Hurricane players. Mr. Shapiro, who is a convicted felon for his involvement in a Ponzi scheme, has said that he provided cash, women, and access to his yacht among other benefits to Miami players.
In both instances scholarships will be taken and championships and wins will/can be taken away, yet in the end usually the individuals who commit these violations get off scotch free. My frustration stems from the fact that taking away scholarships from programs does not just hurt programs, but it hurts programs ability to recruit and give deserving kids an opportunity to receive not just a football scholarship but a free education. Instead of punishing future students why don't we try and penalize those directly involved. The NCAA should consider penalizing those who benefit from violating the rules like future NFL players and coaches who usually are not hurting for cash. If you hit these guys in the wallets especially coaches I guarantee the violations will drastically decrease. The prospect of being fired is not always enough and the abiltiy for coaches to walk away before things get too bad have always been an option. Getting out before things were uncovered was never more apparent then in the case of head coach Ron Meyer leaving SMU for the NFL prior to SMU receiving the death penalty for multiple serious violations. Violations went on during and after Meyer's coaching stint.
In the end I would just like to properly punish those who break the rules instead of hampering the potential growth of our youth. Coming across a scholarship to attend any university is a very huge accomplish and should be afforded as much as possible especially considering the current economic times of this Nation.